MLB and Players Union Come to a Deal

The NBA and Players Union will meet on Friday and re-open collective bargaining negotiations. This is a step in the right direction and hopefully the two sides can reach an agreement that will save the 2011 season. In the midst of the NBA negotiations, Major League Baseball Owners and MLB Players Union (MLBPA) have quietly reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement that was set to expire on December 11, 2011.

Key points on the new labor deal are as follows:

• Postseason play will expand to include a second Wild Card club in each league beginning no later than the 2013 season. The two Wild Card teams in each league will play a one-game playoff for the right to advance to the Division Series.

• The Astros will move to the American League West in 2013, giving both leagues 15 teams and resulting in expanded Interleague Play. Interleague games will be scheduled all season long, as opposed to during specific periods.

• Teams will be allowed to expand their rosters to 26 players for designated regular or split doubleheaders.

The Cost of the Collapse

In 2010, the Boston Red Sox finished the regular season with a record of 89-73, missing the playoffs by 6 games.  Management made it a major priority to get the team back to the post-season.

General Manager Theo Epstein signed highly coveted free agent Carl Crawford to a 7 Year, $142M contract.  Crawford finished the 2010 season with 184 hits, 19 HR, 110 runs, 90 RBI’s and 47 stolen bases.  Epstein also traded prospects RHP Casey Kelly, 1B Anthony Rizzo and OF Reymond Fuentes for slugger Adrian Gonzales, who would sign a contract extension for 7 years, $154M.

By utilizing WAR statistical analysis, the acquisitions of these two players should have taken an 89 win Red Sox squad to a 96 win team.

  • In 2010, Carl Crawford generated a 7.6 WAR (which ranked second among MLB)  vs. the combination of Jeremy Hermida and Mike Cameron who each had a WAR of 0
  • Adrian Gonzales 5.2 WAR vs. Kevin Youkilis 4.1 WAR
  • Kevin Youkilis 4.1 WAR vs. Adrian Beltre 7.0 WAR
  • The difference in wins above replacement player accounted for an estimated +7.8 wins in 2011

The Boston Red Sox entered September with a 9 game lead for the American League wild card and were poised for the playoffs.  Instead, the team experienced one of the worst collapses in MLB history, finishing the month with a 7-20 record (90-72 overall), missing the playoffs by 1 game.